"I was just like the murderers" - Aitken

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Indy Politics

Disgraced former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken today said that going to prison was "less of a shock" than he expected.

Mr Aitken, who was released earlier this year after being sentenced to 18 months for perjury, said the thought of going to prison was worse than the actual conditions inside.

He told BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme: "The worst thing was the run-up to prison, the knowledge that I was certainly going to prison and all the agonies that involved."

But he added: "Actually going to prison was less of a shock than I had expected.

"I was well prepared for it in terms of spiritual health, physical health and sensible preparations and, above all, I had accepted my own total guilt and that I deserved to go to prison.

"Even so, there was a some shocks on the first day - all of the business of being received into prison, the strip searching, all the new language, the anxieties. It was a rough test."

He said he felt on the same level of all the other inmates.

"I did not think there was any distinction between me as a perjurer or murderers or anybody else I found in prison. We were all in the fraternity of the fallen, all on the floor together."

In his first television interview since being released, Mr Aitken did not rule out a return to public life.

He said: "I would like to do some form of public service or public communication with a Christian, spiritual dimension to it."

Asked if he was still a member of the Conservative Party, he said: "Nobody has asked me to resign from the Conservative Party is at it happens and I am not quite sure what my status is."

Asked to explain why he lied in his libel trial with The Guardian: "I think I was caught up in the selfish and prideful madness of a battle, a battle which had many fronts on it.

"I was desperate to win it and I thought the ends justified the means."

Mr Aitken, now a declared bankrupt, is due to make a series of media appearances to promote his autobiography, Pride and Perjury, which is also being serialised in The Sunday Times.

Appearing on GMTV, the head of the bankruptcy team investigating Mr Aitken warned there would be no time limit on their investigations.

"We keep going until all the assets are realised," said Louise Brittan, a senior manager at the firm Baker Tilly.

"If there is a big legal battle over the house, that could take several years to realise so any assets he owned, or any bankrupt owned, at the date of the bankruptcy order, we will continue to pursue those, until such time as they are realised and there is no time limit on that."

She confirmed all the money from the book would go towards paying off the money Mr Aitken owes and said she would "certainly" be buying a copy.